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Mead Tasting and Axe Throwing

September 19, 2012

This weekend we went beer and mead tasting in Tuxedo, NY. And by beer and mead tasting, I mean we went to the Renaissance Faire. You may be looking for further explanation here, but I can assure it’s not necessary. Next year, go, drink, and throw some axes and tell me it wasn’t one of the more ridiculously fun days of your life.

Oh, you mean, you were looking for a further explanation on mead? And that last little rant was defensive and unnecessary? My apologies…

Mead is one of the more ancient forms of liquid courage we still enjoy today. At its core it’s quite simple. Honey and water mixed together, and fermented until the alcohol content mirrors that of wine. This of course is why it’s often referred to as honey wine. But the interesting thing here is how like so many other alcoholic beverages in human history, the original form came from natural fermentation of wild and local yeast. Those naturally occurring yeast, feast on the sugars in the honey and produce ethanol. And like this amazing recipe translated from the 1st century (yep, I said 1st) suggests, making mead was as natural as it got:

Take rainwater kept for several years, and mix a sextarius of this water with a pound of honey. For a weaker mead, mix a sextarius of water with nine ounces of honey. The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days and then left on a shelf near the fire. If you have no rain water, then boil spring water.

Nowadays, you don’t see mead too often. In fact, I’m not sure if I have ever seen the stuff outside of the Renaissance Faire. But other interpretations of mead have been making their way into the market place. Melomel for example is mead fermented with the addition of fruit. Some wineries have even begun to ferment this variety of mead from their excess grapes. As for the basic stuff however, it seems like a fun thing to make on your own. With the starting materials being about as simple as they come, I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to make some mead, and make it quickly. I think I might give it a shot in time for Thanksgiving, so the family and I can sit back and enjoy a few glasses of mulled mead. Another perfect example of the versatility of this concoction! Huzzah to mead!

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